To better face these though and long days, we thought of making a list of movies and documentaries in which electronic music is one of the main characters. We really hope that these documentaries will heal a bit your lockdown period, breaking your routine and making your days a little bit sweeter. These stories have undoubtedly an important place in the hearts of all the (electronic) music lovers and we wish that they’ll find a place in yours too.
The summer of rave (1989)
The most representative documentary about acid house music in the UK made by the BBC. At the end of the 1980s, the club culture here began to take shape in the context of the end of the communist era.
The story of the Street Rave (1990)
The journey of this movie takes us through the history of the last 20 years of the UK clubbing scene. Most interestingly, the documentary points very well the path of British rave culture. Many artists like Carl Cox, Iain Boney Clark or Graeme Park are sharing their sincere stories.
Detroit The Blueprint Of Techno (late 1990’s)
Originally from Germany, Techno went beyond its borders and began to develop in Detroit in the mid-1980s, making this city as popular as Berlin. In this documentary, a lot of the important names from this area, such as Carl Craig, Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and many others, tell us catchy stories about techno movements.
Dutch gabber (1995)
The action is taking place in Rotterdam. Lola Da Musica has made a short documentary presenting the Dutch hardcore scene, images that perfectly capture the experiences of the ravers of that time and how they were partying. At the same time, you will see Paul Elstak, one of the important names in this scene, and DJ Ruffneck from Ruffneck Alliance.
Love is the message (1995)
Even it is in German, this is an excellent Love Parade documentary to watch, a film made by Tommy Grube that managed to capture the 90’s moments of the most popular electronic music festival and techno parade in Germany. This event was held for the first time in 1989 and all started in Berlin, as host town. In 2010 was the last edition of this festival, due to a crowd crush that caused the death of 21 people and many others injured. Besides the German artists, there were performing also two other big names in the electronic music scene, such as Rhadoo in 1999 and Raresh in 2007.
Music is my drug (1996)
The documentary was produced by Martin Meissonnier & Jean Jacques Flori. Shot in four locations, very diverse as culture, Goa, Israel, UK and Japan, the images speak about what the musical movement of Psychedelic Trance means.
Universal Techno (1996)
Detroit’s techno music scene has become one of the most popular in the world. For 1 hour, this French documentary brings us in contact with the fascinating path of techno.
Human Traffic (1999)
This movie has both a dramatic side and a comedy side, in which it is presented to us the life of five friends, young people for whom, after work, on Friday, means going to the club, and their attraction was recreational drugs. A highlight of this film is the presentation of the British rave scene of that period.
The Chemical Generation (2000)
The history of the acid house and rave in the UK is presented by Boy George. This documentary gets together the stories of the club culture revolution since the ‘80s and how British young people meet with MDMA and ecstasy, as dealers or clubbers.
It’s All Gone Pete Tong (2004)
This is one of the most appreciated films in this area, a British-Canadian production, which is based on the real story of DJ Paul Kaye who at some point he completely became deaf. The character Frankie Wilde, a British music producer and artist who performs in Ibiza, experiences different states with this body change, seems to have lost control over his life and in these conditions he is gradually trying to regain those important parts that he had lost in this period: appreciation as an artist, his job and his wife.
Hans Fjellestad directed a documentary about Dr. Robert Moog who was one of the pioneers of the electronic instrument. He invented what is called the Moog synthesizer.
Disco: Spinning the Story (2005)
We have to admit that the disco offered another face to the music. In this documentary, Gloria Gaynor presents the phenomenon together with the featured interviews by Donna Summer, George Clinton, the disco group Village People and many others.
The English name of this movie is “Don’t forget to go home”. We meet here with the story of 72 hours of partying in a city known for its nightlife, Berlin. The pictures manage to capture both the good and the bad parts of the mix between regular life and partying in the weekend in clubs such as Club Der Visonaere, Watergate, Bar 25 or Berghain. All are fully completed by the interviews offered by Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, Nick Höppner and Ewan Pearson.
High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music (2006)
Directed by Gary Bredow, the documentary covers all the historical periods of techno in Detroit and also by the interviews of great artists such as Carl Craig, Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Richie Hawtin, it offers a great overview of what techno sounds and culture means.
Berlin Calling (2008)
The movie main character, DJ Ickarus, is played by the well-known German artist Paul Kalkbrenner. This video piece presents the artist, a drug consumer, who was often hospitalized for this reason. These things make him lose his girlfriend and at the same time, the record label with which he collaborates cancels the partnership with him. Nevertheless, he manages to release a remarkable album of electronic music.
Kraftwerk & The Electronic Revolution (2008)
Kraftwerk is a symbol when you talk about electronic music. This German band was formed in 1970 and their incredible story presented in this documentary will allow us to understand how these guys manage to inspire other artists such as Radiohead or Coldplay and how they popularize this music genre.
Slices: Pioneers of Electronic Music – Richie Hawtin (2011)
Richie Hawtin is one of the successful artists and a complete artist. Producer and DJ, his career is a great inspiration and his music is well-known all over the world. This documentary allows us to get to know Richie Hawtin much better, the videos and the interviews will tell an interesting story of his personal and artistic life.
Sub Berlin – The Story of Tresor (2014)
Tresor is one of the most legendary clubs in Berlin which was opened in 1999, an unconventional place, located in the basement of a building, which in the past was a bank vault. Besides the history of the location, we will enjoy the interviews of important artists such as Sven Väth or Atkins, as well as those of the people who contributed to the creation of the club’s story.
Why we DJ – Slaves to the rhythm (2017)
A 40” documentary that explores the link between the DJs psychology, their creativity, passion and lifestyle. The interviews featured by Pete Tong, Seth Troxler, Carl Cox or Luciano, will help us to understand the ups and downs of a DJ career and life.
Everybody In The Place – An Incomplete History of Britain 1984 -1992 (2019)
This is a documentary produced by the Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller. The movie’s author successfully managed to analyze rave and acid house movements in the UK during ’80s-’90s. The selection of archive materials chosen, presents the journey in time during a period of social changes, with protest movements, a time when rave parties were illegal.
Enjoy! Stay home, and stay safe!
Words by: Miruna Ioana Dan